1 Cor. 1:21 in the NLT

One of the blogs that I enjoy the most is New Leaven by TC. He creates a welcoming atmosphere and there is always lots of chat.

I want to respond to a recent post of his on the NLT. He claims that the NLT has ” dropped the ball,” on this verse,

    Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

I cannot agree with this, and I explain my reasons in a comment. Here is his post and my response,

    Here is the phrase in Greek. This is where you need to start.

    διὰ τῆς μωρίας τοῦ κηρύγματος
    dia tes morias tou kerygmatos

    1. It is well recognized that a genitive construction can be translated by an adjectival phrase in English. This is a normal equivalent. It is called the adjectival genitive.

    2. In many languages the possessive is not used where it would be in English. For example, in French one would never say [the equivalent of] “brush your teeth” but ” brush the teeth.” So adding a possessive pronoun is also usual when translating into English.

    I find the NLT to be accurate in its translation and well within the boundaries of the “literal.” I hope this helps. It is important to be fluent in many languages to understand and run with the variants presented in translation.

There may be other contextual or hermeneutic reasons for not choosing the translation which the NLT has prefered, but the NLT does use one possible translation of the Greek, which I claim is a literal, if not formal, equivalent.

7 thoughts on “1 Cor. 1:21 in the NLT

  1. Wayne Leman says:

    There may be other contextual or hermeneutic reasons for not choosing the translation which the NLT has prefered, but the NLT does use one possible translation of the Greek, which I claim is a literal, if not formal, equivalent.

    I don’t think we can contrast literal and formal equivalence. As far as I know, they are synonyms.

    From your post, which I fully agree with, I suggest that you are trying to contrast accurate and formal equivalence. Sometimes formal equivalence (a.k.a. literal) is accurate translation and sometimes it is not. Sometimes a dynamic equivalent translation is more accurate than a formal equivalent (a.k.a. literal) translation.

  2. tc robinson says:

    Good so far! Now I need to find someone else who’ll argue for the TNIV’s rending (a smile would go here).

  3. David Ker says:

    The NLT passage sounds terrific.

    I tried to throw out an idea at TC’s place of why the “our” could be a bad idea but IMHO TNIV, NLT and CEV all sound like good English and reflect the original meaning well.

  4. Suzanne McCarthy says:

    I don’t think it matters whether the “our” is there or not. Who else’s preaching would it be?

  5. Jimbo S. says:

    tc,

    Have no fear-the NLT not only gives a pretty nice rendering of the verse but it's another valid translation. And Suzanne's first and last post really defend it and hit the nail on the head. Wayne and Dave's post are right on too. IMHO, the "our" is not even needed-who else's preaching could it be?
    In Christ Jesus,
    Jim S.
    P.S. I also enjoy your blog very much-nice & homey.

  6. tc robinson says:

    Thanks guys, for shedding more light on the matter. By the way, whenever I come to BBB, it’s like a classroom on translation Scripture.

  7. Jimbo S. says:

    You said it, tc. The 8 Contributors of BBB never cease to amaze me, always have something neat posted to discuss and are truly nice fellow Believers and Bloggers. Don’t forget the incredible Resources, Biblioblogs, Links, etc. I sometimes go “deep sea blogging” and end up on other Blogs so far removed, I run out of air and have to come up! : )
    Educational, enlightening and fun for sure.
    Jim S.

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